The volunteer group Save Our Forests Team Comox Valley (SOFT-CV) appeared before Comox council on April 20 to ask Council for a new and strengthened tree bylaw and the retention and purchase of remaining forested areas in Comox. SOFT noted Comox’s tree bylaw was adopted in 1994 and hasn’t been updated since 2010, despite increased public concern with climate change and community livability.
The group also urged council to establish a citizen advisory committee to work with the town on issues related to development, the urban forest and the tree canopy. While Courtenay and Cumberland have acquired significant forested areas through the CV Land Trust and have had the Comox Valley Land Partnership involved in reviewing development permits, the Town of Comox has not actively participated in these programs.
The group told council the public is alarmed to see remaining patches of Comox’s forest being cleared for development. SOFT asked council for strong protection of ecosystems and standing trees in the northeast Comox and Hector/Aspen area, retaining at least 30 per cent of the existing forest and purchasing other remaining forested areas.
Jen Groundwater, speaking for SOFT-CV noted, “There is pressure for this land to be turned into housing, but we’re urging the town to take a step back and reconsider the long term before these trees are cut down and it’s too late.”
The group also asked council why Comox didn’t acquire significant parcels of land when they were recently for sale at affordable prices. LT 4 Pritchard Road (just north of Mulberry Lane), listed at $1 million recently sold, and 2123 Hector Road, initially listed at $8.5 million recently sold for $1 million. SOFT would like Comox to purchase key remaining wooded parcels in the Hector area to protect these urban forests.